5 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Non-Profit

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Ivan Dimitrijevic
Ivan Dimitrijevic is a seasoned blogger and SEO consultant with years of experience. His skill sets include Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and blogging on a wide variety of topics. He is a digital marketing & business consultant and has had many articles published on serious blogs over the years on topics ranging from Digital Marketing, Tech and Online Business to Home & Family, Health & Wellness and Architecture, Real Estate & Design.
Ivan Dimitrijevic
Ivan Dimitrijevic
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So, you want to have a non-profit organisation? Great! Being passionate about something close to your heart can result in you helping the community and doing a lot for those in need. This is a great idea, and a thoughtful one, as well. However, not everyone realises that having a non-profit organization is very similar to owning any regular business.

Unfortunately, people do not realise what a non-profit really is – they think that it’s quick and easy money. The type of business may be different, but essentially, it is still a business, whether you like it or not. You will need to carefully think about some things before even coming up with a name for your non-profit. With that in mind, here are some points you need to consider before you start your organisation.

1. Do your research

Before doing anything serious, do a little research on the whole non-profit industry. First of all, how does it operate? You need to know the ins and outs of it all. Secondly, is there a need for your type of non-profit? Perhaps that cause has been covered too many times by now. Therefore, the chances of your business succeeding are slim, unless you have some brilliant, innovative ideas. So, doing some extensive research and needs analysis is a must.

2. Make a business plan



Because a non-profit is a business like any other, you need a well thought out business plan for it. The plan will lay out every detail about your organisation that you need to be familiar with. For example, an executive summary which will explain exactly what your non-profit does, its products, and work strategy, among other things.

Moreover, you will have to think about finances and taxation. Money is a big part of running any business. If you are careful and have a good accountant, you shouldn’t have any problems with earnings and expenditure. You could manage this by hiring a professional. Certainly, it would be one of your smartest moves.

3. Think long-term

Just having a social cause in mind and focusing on one or two immediate ways of raising funds is not enough to sustain

your non-profit in the long run. You need to sit down and come up with a comprehensive long-term plan. Find the root of the problem you are trying to address, and divide it into categories of smaller problems, then come up with several-long term goals and a number of short-term milestones for each of those.

This way you’ll have a clear strategy in mind, and a number of actionable steps that can be taken right away. For example, feeding the homeless takes a bit more planning than just preparing a few meals and hitting the streets – you want to set up a soup kitchen, which requires a suitable space, permits, cooks, an efficient way to source ingredients from local vendors, etc.

You might then want to look for local businesses that can offer these people some kind of job, counselors to help them get back on their feet and so on. This is good long-term thinking.

4. Find your focus group



This brings us back to the research you will have to do. Finding your focus group will help you keep your non-profit up and running. If you spread everywhere, people will think you are spammy or useless. This could give you a bad reputation and no one will want to work with you.


So, focus on the people your non-profit is made for. Advertise and market for them only; no need to spread into unrelated markets. Acting this way will make you look as if you have no idea about what you are doing. And, certainly, you do not want this. Therefore, work on your marketing strategy, and target the right demographic.

5. Why are you really doing this?

Lastly, ask yourself why did you want to start a non-profit in the first place? Why are you willing to invest all your time and energy into this? Non-profits are more about being selfless and willing to help others. They are about giving back to the community. If your answers do not match the criteria, then you should re-think this whole idea and focus on something else.
With these five key points in mind, take some time to carefully think things through before starting a non-profit. You might find that it is not the right course of action for you, and that it might be better to give some money to existing charities, or you might come up with a really good way to give back to the community that hasn’t yet been explored. Either way, I hope that you can find your answers and make a difference.